What if scientists could identify a mutated gene that accounts for more than half of all cancerous tumors? This gene would become a holy grail of cancer research.
This gene exists, and it is called p53.
The name p53 refers to its molecular mass. It is sometimes nicknamed “Guardian of the Genome” because p53 protects cells from damaging mutations. Mutations in p53 are often associated with various cancers for this very reason: if the gene is not doing its job correctly, the entire genome is more likely to incur mutations which may affect its ability to regulate cell growth and division, potentially leading to cancer.
Much like Sir Lancelot’s answer to the Bridgekeeper’s question, “What is your quest?”, let’s cross the bridge “to seek the holy grail.”